Bahal temple

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Coordinates: 1°24′20″N 99°43′50″E / 1.40556°N 99.73056°E / 1.40556; 99.73056

Candi Bahal I, in Padang Lawas, North Sumatra.

Bahal temple (Indonesian: Candi Bahal), Biaro Bahal, or Candi Portibi is a Vajrayana Buddhist temple (candi) complex located in Bahal village, Padang Bolak, Portibi, Padang Lawas Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia. About 3 hours journey with car from Padangsidempuan or 400 km from Medan.

Despite its rich archaeological value, unlike the popular temples of Java, the Padanglawas temples are mostly neglected and in the state of ruins.[1] There are some attempts to promote the temples as a tourism attraction, however because of its remote location and poor infrastructure, promotion and tourism activity is limited.


The temple was constructed in red brick materials and estimated built around 11th century CE, linked with Pannai Kingdom, one of the trading ports on the coast of Strait of Malacca under Srivijayan mandala.[2]

The temple was named according to the village's name, yet another name Portibi in Batak language means 'world' or 'earth' a Sanskrit loanword: Prithvi (goddess of earth).

The architecture of this temple is similar to Jabung temple located in Probolinggo Regency, East Java.


The temples are stood within a complex (in local language called biaro) which is the largest in North Sumatra. The temple compound consist of Bahal I, Bahal II an Bahal III temples. All of the temples are constructed from red brick materials, except for its statues that carved from sandstones. Each of these complexes were surrounded by rectangular 1 meters thick an 1 meters tall brick walls. The gate is located on eastern side, the gate is extended outward with 60 cm tall walls in both sides. In the center of each complexes stood the main temple with entrance facing the gate.[3]

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